The Denver man who reportedly shot a Cañon City homeowner in the neck, led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through town and fired a stolen gun at officers in March entered pleas of not guilty in district court Monday.
The public defender for Richard James Salazar, 37, said a potential resolution could take place based on victims’ input.
During Monday’s arraignment, District Court Judge Ramsey Lama set Salazar’s two-week trial to begin April 13 should an agreement not be reached.
On March 23, Salazar allegedly trespassed and broke into vehicles across town, including at the Royal Gorge Route Railroad and New Horizons Thrift Store, and he entered a home on Barr Avenue. He allegedly was trespassing at a home on Woodlawn Avenue when the homeowners returned to the residence after seeing a male party walking around the property on video surveillance.
The homeowners, Christopher McMann, 47, and Lisa Ziegler, 28, both had responded separately after seeing the surveillance video just before 6 p.m.
McMann confronted the suspect, who later would be identified as Salazar in his front yard. McMann retrieved a silver revolver from Ziegler before being shot by Salazar, the affidavit states. Salazar then entered McMann’s pickup truck and fled the scene.
Officers testified that Salazar was traveling about 100 miles per hour eastbound on U.S. 50 near 15th Street. He reportedly continued driving eastbound in the westbound lane, causing oncoming traffic to maneuver to avoid colliding with him.
Salazar brought the stolen vehicle to a complete stop at Berry Parkway, but as officers started opening their doors to exit the vehicle, Salazar reportedly made a U-turn to get back on the highway.
The stolen truck proceeded to travel westbound and then north on Dozier. Salazar allegedly fired the stolen weapon at pursuing officers before his vehicle went into a ditch on Dozier Avenue.
McMann was transported to a hospital in Colorado Springs, where he was treated for a gunshot wound to his neck, below his chin. The bullet traveled down one side of his chest, breaking his clavicle, then entered the other side of his chest causing further damage.
McMann did survive the shooting.
Salazar is facing a number of various charges, including four counts of criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder.
Also appearing in court Monday, the attorney for the Fremont Correctional Facility officer accused of bringing methamphetamine into the facility entered not guilty pleas for his client.
Kyle Gotham Tatro, 32, is facing charges of first-degree introduction of contraband, a Class 4 felony.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, on June 24, DOC Investigator Christopher Barr received information that Tatro would be introducing contraband into FCF hidden inside three ink pens the following day.
On June 25, Tatro was contacted by investigators after he had gone through the facility’s security screening process with his lunch box and uniform jacket. He handed authorities a clear quart-size ziplock style bag that had been in his left cargo pocket containing four plastic pens. They were semi-translucent. Security noticed one of the pens contained several pills and the other two pens appeared to be packed full of a foreign substance.
Tatro told investigators that he had agreed to bring pens into an inmate at the facility and that this wasn’t his first time doing so. He was paid $250 cash to bring in the pens the first time and $340 cash this time.
“The defendant said he was wrong and illegal to do so,” the affidavit states. “The defendant went on to describe a financial hardship he was experiencing due to COVID.”
He told investigators that with his most recent cash payment, he put $100 toward vacation and the other $240 he used to purchase a remote-controlled car.
The contents of the first pen tested positive for methamphetamine, weighing about 5.9 grams, including the pen.
The second and third pen tested positive for opiates weighing about 9.6 grams and 10.1 grams respectively.
The fourth pen contained nine oxycodone hydrochloride pills.
Tatro’s attorney, Matt Roche, said a resolution in this case is still likely, but a two-day jury trial was set for March 23-24.
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